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Seagull Hostages

We are currently on semi-lockdown, at least as far as our top balconies and garage entryway are concerned. Whenever we step out onto the landing on either side (we have both east- and west-facing balconies), we are met with the raging shrieks of a protective momma gull and her bird buddies. They proceed to dive-bomb at our heads, talons outstretched and beaks open menacingly, swooping within two feet of our precious scalps. They then circle back and repeat their offensives, sometimes defecating a load onto our roof as warnings of impending attack. Only when we retreat back inside does their aerial assaults cease.

I'm cripplingly afraid of aggressive birds, so this is very freaky to me. Worse yet, Little L *loves* playing on the balcony, and to be denied this experience every time she asks has been very frustrating. Unfortunately, I would much prefer a frustrated child than an injured one. Even Hubbs, who initially thought the swooping gulls overhead was a cool thing, has come to concede that this is a major issue.

One stands guard on one side, the other stands near its nest on the rectangular structure.
Never one to be passive in a hostage situation, I contacted pest control and my strata manager and my landlord right away. The good news: they are sending someone out tomorrow to move the nests (one on our roof, and at least another one across the way from our west-facing balcony). The bad news: this is a recurrent problem that usually lasts all summer, and even after obtaining a hard-to-get permit to move these federally-protected critters from my rooftop, there is no way to prevent the gulls from nesting there again. The behaviour we are witnessing is the result of mommy gulls trying to teach their fledglings how to fly and find food and do other gull things.

I was informed that these pest control folks have actually been coming out to our complex every other week since March, but their work has been held up by the delay in getting the permit. Also, our location is especially popular with the gulls since we are close to water, and the design of our rooftops makes it difficult to set up effective deterrents to prevent future nests from being constructed. There are talks to up the frequency of pest control visits from bi-weekly to weekly. I sure hope strata passes that motion!

The fledgling is hiding beside the momma and learning to feed.
To top this all off, one of the nests on our roof cannot actually be moved; its contents are addled eggs (eggs that have been shaken) that will never hatch. Sadly, the momma seagull doesn't know this yet, and so she sits patiently waiting for her babies to arrive. It's actually pretty sad, since we know that things will not end well for her. I have been assured that when the seagull does eventually discover her loss, she will thankfully not turn psycho-crazy; she will simply abandon her nest to build a new one elsewhere. To move the addled nest now would mean that it would invite a new nest to be built, so the pest specialists have advised against relocation.

Anyway, until the pest control fellow comes tomorrow, we cannot use our top balconies. In fact, it's probably safest if we don't walk around the back of our home, period, since I did get followed and the gulls swooped by twice to remind me to stay away, when I attempted to walk through the back of our complex towards my home. The crazy territorial behaviour has been less than ideal, and the constant noises from the birds have been unnerving. Tomorrow can't come soon enough! Being a seagull's hostage sucks.


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